At $5.25bn, the Panama Canal expansion project is the largest single investment in the country’s history. The annual contribution of canal tolls to the national treasury has more than quadrupled from $201m in 2000 to $981.8m in 2013. The new set of locks will accommodate post-Panama ships, which can carry up to 13,000 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs), compared to the current maximum of 5000 TEUs. Just as the nationalisation of the Panama Canal changed the country’s long-term economic competitiveness, so too will the completion of its expansion project. Not only are revenues from the canal expected to double by 2020, fuelling continued public sector spending on infrastructure and social programmes, the expansion will secure what is now one of Panama’s primary economic resources for the long term.
This chapter includes an interview with Jorge Quijano, Administrator, Panama Canal Authority; and a viewpoint from Søren Skou, CEO, Maersk Line.